You Y Ly is a former IMS student and now successful in the media sector in her home country Cambodia. Find out how the IMS program impacted her professional and personal life.
Why did you choose to become part of the IMS program?
Becoming a part of the IMS program was no coincidence. I had been familiar with the quality of the German-sponsored program at the Department of Media and Communication (DMC), Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP) from which I graduated with a BA in Media Management. During my studies, two one-month intensive courses on radio production and online news were provided here in Cambodia. I got to know DW Akademie’s skillful trainers and we had a lot of fun learning from them. I remember one thing the trainer told me was that “learning in the IMS program is like working at the UN. You’ll meet a lot of people from different countries in the world.” That struck me as incredibly positive and motivated me to join this program. Furthermore, I had the chance to learn a new language and explore another culture. It was a life-changing experience for me.
Which career path did you take since graduating from the International Media Studies program?
After returning to my home country, I continued to work as a documentary producer at a private production company. There was a reverse culture shock that I have had to deal with as well as navigating different fields in the media sector. In 2018, I returned to my first university as a part-time lecturer at the DMC, where I taught a radio and TV production course to year-3 students. After that, I started exploring the communication field and worked as a communication officer at two private companies for two years. Fortunately, I found my way back to journalism in 2020 when a position as capacity development coordinator at a newly established journalist association called “Cambodian Journalists Alliance (CamboJA)” was announced. Since August 2020, I have been working to build capacity of journalists and its association members by providing short and intensive trainings on various skill set and thematic knowledge levels.
Which of the skills you acquired in the program do you apply in your daily work?
I think the human resource management and media education courses provided me with conceptual knowledge that I use as a foundation in my current work. My daily work requires a lot of collaboration with colleagues, key partner institutions and especially journalists. In consultation with local experts, I have to develop manuals or lesson plans for each training session I conduct with the journalists – here I also profit from the things I learned as an IMS student.
Tell us about the experiences you gained through taking part in the International Media Studies program?
The IMS program not only provided me with knowledge of and experience with the German education system and culture but also with a network of media professionals around the world. Intercultural communication was an important course that helped us understand and respect the diversity of cultures in the class. The lecturers and professors knew how to utilize this diversity very well. There was always time for discussion and exchange in each course, so that my classmates who were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the topics related to their home countries could always voice their thoughts and ideas. I gained great insight from them and saw the underlying truths beyond what we are shown in the media. And for that, I have my classmates to thanks for being open-minded and honest. In addition, extracurricular activities such as learning about how sound and TV studios at the University Bonn-Rhein-Sieg work as well as Kung Fu classes at the University of Bonn helped keep me busy and feeling less homesick.
Is there anything you would like to share with future IMS students and graduates?
Maybe you would cringe at hearing me call it “IMS family” but that is just how my classmates and I felt. Even though we were away from our own families for two years, we found ways to keep each other company, have fun and learn from each other every single day. It has been four years since we graduated but I am still keeping in touch with all my classmates, and we have welcomed several IMS babies to our big family. To the newbies, welcome to IMS family. To students who are interested in this program, it has been a life-changing experience for me, and I wish you the same. On a side note, although German proficiency is no longer a requirement, I suggest you study at least a few basic courses. This will help you explore the German culture a little deeper.